Receiving more than one job offer at the same time is an exciting prospect when you're job hunting. However, this scenario can also be challenging and stressful for candidates. What to do? Which one should you take? How can you be sure you're making the best decision?
First of all, stay calm and realize that this is a good thing. You have a choice to make, and you'll be able to compare the jobs to determine which is the best fit.
Get the Facts About Each Job
Ideally, you will want to learn all there is to know about each opportunity so that you can conduct a comparative analysis with full information. You will also want to be careful not to turn off any of the employers or lead them to believe that you don't place a high value on their offer.
Handled carefully, this is an opportunity to accept an offer for the job that's best for you at this point in your career.
Whether you're looking for more money, a flexible schedule or a different set of responsibilities you can contrast offers to help with your decision-making.
Options for Handling Multiple Job Offers
The following strategies will help you to make the best of this challenging and exciting situation:
Express Enthusiasm Without Saying “Yes.”
Any time you receive an attractive offer, express your high level of excitement and appreciation for the offer. Clarify when the employer needs to know your decision. Resist the impulse to accept on the spot if you have other attractive options to consider.
Thank you. I am so excited to receive your offer! I believe this position is an excellent fit for me at this point in my career. When do you need to know my official decision? I will give this my utmost attention and get back to you by Wednesday.
Get All the Information
If you receive multiple offers within the same deadline period for acceptance, your task will simply be to decide which option is preferable. Make sure you have all the information necessary about both options to make a rational choice. If not, reach out to the employer and seek clarification about any lingering uncertainties regarding benefits, advancement, working conditions, job content, supervision or any other questions you may have.
Develop a Decision Matrix
A decision matrix can help you to weigh each job option.
- List the 7 - 10 factors that you most value in a job, such as salary, benefits, stress level, learning potential, advancement opportunity, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.
- Then assign a weight on a scale of 1 - 10 reflecting the importance of each factor to you.
- Finally, assign a value from 1 - 10 indicating how much of that factor each job gives you.
if you assign a level of importance of 7 for advancement and a particular job provides a potential fulfillment of 6 for that factor, then you have a total weight 42 for advancement.
Do the same for all your decision factors and compare the totals for the jobs in contention. Use this information in conjunction with your gut or intuitive feeling to make an informed choice. Remember that your gut can sometimes be the best indicator of whether you should or shouldn't take a job.
When You Are Waiting for Another Offer
A more challenging scenario is when you have an offer from one employer, and you believe that another equally or more attractive offer might be forthcoming from another organization. In these cases, if you aren't comfortable accepting the firm offer, you should attempt to bring the time windows for decision-making together.
One way to line up the time frames is to create a reasonable delay with the first employer who has made the offer. For example, you might ask for the opportunity to meet with staff at your level if you weren't able to do so during the screening process.
However, be careful how you frame a request for extra time so that you don't create doubt about your degree of interest.
I am very interested in this job and from everything that I have heard my background is an excellent match. I am a careful person and would feel most comfortable if I could speak with colleagues in similar roles (or shadow them for a day) prior to finalizing my acceptance.
Mention the Other Offer
Another approach is to level with the employer who has made the offer and mention that you have another offer pending. There is some risk with this approach, but if handled delicately, most employers will only view a candidate more favorably if they are in high demand.
I am so excited that you have offered me the opportunity to work with your firm. I believe that I can make a very strong contribution in this role and would enjoy the work immensely. I do have another firm that has been courting me, and I believe an offer may be pending shortly. Though I am strongly inclined toward your position, I would be most comfortable if I could make a comparative choice. Is there any chance that you could give me until next Wednesday to finalize my acceptance?
Be prepared to respond if they deny your request. You can say that you appreciate the consideration and will get back to them by the agreed upon response date.
Try to Get a Second Offer
Another way to bring the time window together is to approach the employer that hasn't issued an offer yet. In this case, you might ask if they are in a position to expedite the process since you have received another offer. Again, you would need to word your request carefully.
I have received another offer, and they need to know my decision by Monday. I would prefer to work for your firm but don't want to pass up this other job and be left with nothing. Is there any chance that you might arrive at a decision about my candidacy before Monday?
If you employ this approach, then you should be ready to respond if they say no. In this case, you might say that you will attempt to get an extension on the other offer.
What to Do After You Decide on a Job
Whatever decision you make, it’s important to act promptly and graciously. Get back to the hiring manager as soon as possible and thank them for the opportunity – even if you must decline. Then, observe these tips:
- If You Accept the Job Offer: Send a job offer acceptance letter, including your written acceptance, thanks, and specifics about the job, including start date.
- If You Turn Down the Job Offer: Send a job rejection letter expressing your appreciation and a brief reason why you’re declining the opportunity.
- If You Receive a Conditional Job Offer:Respond as quickly as possible. Thank them for the offer and include your acceptance (or a request to weigh other offers).
The Bottom Line
GET THE FACTS ABOUT EACH JOB: Learn as much as you can about the compensation, benefits, responsibilities, and so on.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST JOBS: Use a decision matrix to help you see how each role measures against the other(s).
BE GRACIOUS AND PROMPT IN YOUR REPLY: Whether you accept or decline, be polite and express your thanks.